RORC Focus on Europe
Royal Yacht Squadron Line start, within sight of the RORC Cowes Clubhouse © Hamo Thornycroft
The 2018 Royal Ocean Racing Club Season's Points Championship continues with the first of the domestic offshore races, the Cervantes Trophy, which starts on May 5th followed by the North Sea Race, which starts on May 11th. In excess of 300 teams are expected to take part over the course of the season with sailors from around the globe racing in the biggest offshore sailing competition in the world. There are six European destinations: Belgium, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Malta, and the Netherlands. Five races are to count for Class Honours, and the highest total score will designate the winner overall racing under IRC.
Entries include some of the world's fastest professional crewed maxis and multihulls, However, more often than not, a passionate well-sailed Corinthian team is the overall winner. After a memorable RORC Caribbean 600, the focus is now firmly on European waters with the majority of races starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, within sight of the RORC Cowes Clubhouse. This year, the championship includes the North Sea Race, Volvo Round Ireland Race, Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race, and the RORC Transatlantic Race.
A sizeable fleet in excess of 50 yachts is expected for the Cervantes Trophy Race, from Cowes to Le Havre, which will have a flexi-course of 110-160 nautical miles across the English Channel. IRC champions from 2017 competing in the Cervantes Trophy include James Neville's INO XXX, Rob Craigie's Bellino, and Noel Racine's Foggy Dew. Gilles Fournier's Pintia will be attempting to win the Cervantes Trophy for a third year in a row and start the defence of their overall win of IRC Two in the RORC Season's Points Championship. The race to Le Havre is a special one for Pintia, as Gilles Fournier explains.
“I have been a member of the Société des Régates du Havre for over 65 years, and my daughter, Corraine Migraine is a past Commodore. This year the race is in early May, so the sea will still be cold, but I can assure everyone of a warm welcome at the club, which is the oldest in mainland Europe (Est. 1838) and has an excellent new menu. Pintia will not have as intensive a season as last year due to work commitments. However, we are definitely aiming to defend our title, Pintia has new sails for the season, and our IRC endorsed certificate is the same as last year.”
The North Sea Race, starting on May 11th, is hosted by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club, on the River Orwell in Suffolk, and finishes in Scheveningen, Netherlands. Daniel Hardy, boat captain of the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, confirms that the Hamble based team will be defending their IRC Zero RORC Season's Points Championship title and will be kicking off their campaign with the North Sea Race. British Volvo Ocean Race, and Jules Verne sailor Nigel King, will be the offshore skipper and match racing World Champion and America's Cup sailor Jesper Bank, continues as inshore skipper.
“2018 is the start of our big offshore campaign for 2019, which will include the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Rolex Fastnet Race.” commented Hardy. “Nigel brings a tremendous amount of experience and enthusiasm to the team, and we are especially looking forward to racing against the Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden in the North Sea Race. Last year, we beat them on the water but they got us on corrected by a few minutes. It should be a great battle all season but a friendly one, we are actually doing some two boat testing with them once Lady Mariposa is in the Netherlands.”
A Prize Giving for each race is normally held at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's London Clubhouse, with a glittering Royal Ocean Racing Club Annual Dinner & Prize Giving at a top London venue in November.